Monday, May 19, 2014

May 23 - Not Another Broken Promise! Not Another Day in Guantanamo!

People from throughout the Chicago area gathered at 4:30 pm at the Water Tower Park (Chicago and Michigan) on May 23, 2014.

They urged President Obama and Congress to end indefinite detention and close the detention facility at Guantánamo. There were simultaneous actions across the country.

The protest at the Water Tower was followed by a march down Michigan Avenue to Tribune Plaza, and then to Millenium Park.

See the full photo gallery below.

May 23, 2014—One year after President Obama once again promised to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay human rights activists in 40+ cities in six countries are taking action against the lack of progress on detainee transfers and calling on him to transfer the dozens of cleared detainees and make good on his commitment to close the prison this year.

The President’s pledge last May to close Guantánamo came amidst a mass hunger strike at the prison by men protesting their indefinite detention. Since then only a handful of men have been released from Guantánamo, where hungers strikes and brutal force-feedings continue.

“No matter how much I show you I am tough, in reality I am dying inside. If you want us to die, leave us alone. But they do not want us to die, and they do not want us to live like a human being. What is worse than that?”

—Quote by Shaker Aamer, who has been held at Guantánamo without charge for over 12 years

1 Year Has Passed Since President Obama’s Renewed Promise to Close Guantánamo: Only 12 Men Released as of May 23, 2014

• 154 men remain imprisoned. 146 of them haven’t been charged.
• 74 men have been cleared for release, most of whom have been imprisoned without charge for more than 11 years.
• An unknown number of men are on hunger strike and are being force- fed. Force-feeding is in violation of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. A mass hunger strike began on February 6, 2013. At its height, in June 2013, 106 men were reportedly participating in the hunger strike. On December 3, 2013, the U.S. military stopped daily reporting on the number of hunger strikers.

Please join the weekly vigils of the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo or contact us at to learn more about how you can get involved.

May 23, 2014 in Chicago - Photo Gallery

 One year ago, Barack Obama said:

I know the politics are hard. But history will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism, and those of us who fail to end it. Imagine a future – ten years from now, or twenty years from now – when the United States of America is still holding people who have been charged with no crime on a piece of land that is not a part of our country. Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. Is that who we are? Is that something that our Founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children?

(See White House website, Remarks of President Barack Obama, May 23, 2013)

On May 23, 2014, in Chicago, brought the question to the streets.

"Is that who we are?"

Gathering in Water Tower Park

Gutananamo detainees in Water Tower Park

Opponents of Guantanamo detention with signs in Water Tower Park

"I am still waiting for Obama to sign my release"

"Where is the world to save us from torture?"

"I died waiting to see my family" - Yasser al Zahrani, died 6-10-2006

The procession down Michigan Avenue begins.

Agitation on Michigan Avenue

"I am #239"

SONG: "We are building a nation . . . that does not torture . . . "

Tribune Plaza, Wrigley Building, Michigan Avenue Tour Bus, and Guantanamo

Michigan Avenue agitation continues: EN ESPAÑOL!

Protest against Guantanamo detention arrives at Millennium Park

At "The Bean": MIC CHECK!

Iconic image for Barack Obama's home town:
Guantanamo detainees reflected in "The Bean" in Millennium Park

Yes . . . "This is who we are"

Photos courtesy FJJ.

Related development:

In a hugely important ruling in the US District Court in Washington D.C., relating to the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Judge Gladys Kessler has ordered the government to suspend the force-feeding of a hunger-striking prisoner, and to preserve video evidence of his force-feeding.

(See more at: Breakthrough on Guantánamo: Judge Orders US Government to Stop Force-Feeding Syrian Prisoner and to Preserve Video Evidence )